Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Trying to Get Beyond the Rejection Letter.

Remember how I wrote that blog a couple of days ago about the iPad? I think I might be about to become a hypocrite.

Yet, in my defense, I won't be e-reading, I'll just be e-selling.

As a writer, I've learned that trying to get a novel published is a little like stumbling out into the cold, blustery wilderness of the North pole and hoping someone rescues you. Or, more realistically, it's like being forced to watch Ice Road Truckers with your dad and knowing that it's more than likely that one of the truckers might slide out and plunge into the lake, freezing to death before they can drown.

Either way, you get the idea. Trying to break into publishing is pretty impossible.

It's hard to admit. In truth, I'm an idealist. I see the way things should be versus the way they actually are. I see the fact that I've written a light, funny, timely fictional novel that would probably not cost much to promote or produce and I think, "Why would an agent/publisher NOT want to take a chance on this?"

Yet then I get a few rejections and I realize that my idealistic approach is not going to cut it.

The thing is, I have a feeling if people could actually read my novel, The Reluctant Demon, they might enjoy it. In my horrible way of paraphrasing, it's True Blood meets Paranormal Activity (the horribly, slightly creepy movie that killed at the box office around Halloween."

In truth, it's a dark comedy with elements of horror and romance thrown in.

So far, agents feel that "it's not for them."

I wouldn't feel bad except I've now accomplished a grand total of writing nine novels. While I get that some of my novels are hard sells, there's NINE of them. Dear agents: give me a chance. I can write. I can write fast. When I write fast, I write well. In short, I might not have sparkly vampires or DaVinci type code-breaking characters but I have fun.

Yet, what I'm finding in my research is that agents recieve up to 200 queries a day. Of those 200, less than 1% is likely to get more than a kind "Thanks for submitting, good luck" email."

I appreciate the kindness. It's not quite the same as "I loved your premise, let me read more."

My bitterness is probably a little hard to hide. It's a world in which Stephanie Meyer can get an agent to pay attention to her novel because her good friend is also represented by that agent. Stephanie Meyer, gets a read. The rest of us...don't. Long story short, Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series becomes a blockbuster.

Score one for Stephanie. Score nil for the rest of us writers who don't know anyone.

So, here I sit. Nine novels later. Not having got anywhere with any one of those novels is really making me feel quite pathetic. Are they all really so bad that no agent will even look at them?

The pessimist/low self-esteem holder in me says "yes." The realist says, "But they haven't even read them!"

It's all about the query letter. Let me tell you, I've sent out a very large amount of them and nothing seems to work. I've tried funny queries, serious queries, quirky queries, attention getters. I've googled "successful query letters" and read ones that have managed to get their writers an agent. I have taken that successful query and modeled my own exactly after it.

Nothing. It's as though I'm beating my head against a wall. I think it's because you're supposed to give your writing credentials, what experience do I have? The sad fact of the matter is that I don't have much. I have nine novels. If I tell them that, I feel like they're going to chuck the letter aside and say, "nine novels, no agent/publisher? Obviously SHE sucks."

No, I don't think I do. It's just I can't get an agent to read my novel. You can't get published without an agent. You can't get an agent without being published. Catch-22.

In all honesty, as a writer, I don't want to get published for money. All I really want is someont to read my book, enjoy it and pass the word. I want people to enjoy my fiction, it doesn't have to change the world. It just has to take the readers out of it for a little while.

I used to think I needed an agent to do this. Today, however, a simple suggestion from a coworker has me thinking. I'm thinking trying out my novel in an e-book format might be worth looking into to see if it's for me.

I did look into it. You know what? The Kindle publishing industry is doing well. Apparently, if you publish your books for a low price, people will read it. They might not like it but they WILL read it.

With The Kindle as well as the Barnes and Noble Nook, my book will be displayed in a highly readable format, making it simple to publish to the Kindle as well as the Nook.

Ironically, agents say that if its on the Nook/Kindle/Sony e-reader, it's out of their hands. They can't represent an author who has been published, even if it is on The Nook.

To this, I say, poo-ey. As 'an author', I know whatever I've written might be bad. It might imply that I can't 'get' an agent.

Sadly, that seems to be true. I can't get an agent. They just don't want to take a risk on new, unpublished writers who aren't guaranteed success.

Agents/publishers are shy. They're really looking for that one author who can quickly sell them a half a billions' worth of stuff. They're not looking for a someone who cares enough to publish a few sample chapters. They want someone who can produce.

So, I think this Kindle thing might be worth looking into. Take the power from the agents and try it myself. I think that many of the agents' protestations about e-books are out of fear: If we can publish ourselves, why do we need them?

I don't know what people are reading. I don't know if my work will do well with e-readers. I only hope people are looking for something new and different. I'd like to think that I'm new and different. If not, well, I hope that people try to enjoy my book anyway. It's intended to be funny and quirky. Enough said.

What I do hope is that they enjoy my book, that they enjoy my characters and storyline. I have a feeling they will

In my wildest glass-half-full moments, I would love to publish on the Kindle and find that an agent is waiting there, in the wings, to snap me up.

The realist in me knows I'll be lucky if you make a penny.

Still...I havthink I'll give it a go.

Happy Thursday!

1 comment:

CindyK. said...

When your book comes out, whatever format, I will buy it. :)

Have you seen this website? I think it looks promising. It's like they are using the public to go through the slush pile. They do look at the top ranked books. I think I will try it after I try my top choices for agent.

And remember that even Stephen King and JK Rowling had to deal with rejection letters. It will happen for you, I'm sure of it. You just have to be persistent.